IMAX Signs Multi-Theater Deal to Bring More Screens to Saudi Arabia

IMAX announced the signing of a multi-theatre deal with Vox Cinemas on Tuesday, as the premium screening format plans to expand into Saudi Arabia, now that the country has ended its decades-long cinema ban.

As part of the deal, at least four IMAX screens will be installed at Vox cineplexes in Riyadh and other cineplexes at shopping malls owned by Vox’s parent company, Majid Al Futtaim. Vox is planning to open 600 screens in Saudi Arabia over the next five years, and their first IMAX location has already opened at a four-screen multiplex in Riyadh Park Mall.

Also Read: Saudi Film Council Announces First Project: ‘Wadjda’ Director Haifaa Al-Mansour’s ‘The Perfect Candidate’

Prior to the lifting of the cinema ban back in December, IMAX operated the only public theater screen in Saudi Arabia: a dome theater at the Sultan Bin Abdul Science Center in Khobar that opened in 2005 and was built to screen science documentaries.

At CinemaCon last month, IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond told TheWrap that the company planned to use the public’s familiarity with IMAX from that location to quickly bring in audiences for event releases, as IMAX is already screening “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” on their Vox screen.

Also Read: Saudi Arabia’s First New Movie Theaters Welcome Women – But Only With Chaperones (For Now)

“Saudi Arabia presents an exciting and sizeable new growth opportunity for IMAX, and today’s agreement with our long-time partners at VOX Cinemas marks an important first step in our efforts to capitalize on this untapped market,” Gelfond said in a statement following the deal’s announcement. “We’ve been closely following the economic and cultural developments in the market and look forward to playing a key role in the growth of the Kingdom’s emerging entertainment sector.”

The deal comes three days after IMAX signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi government’s General Culture Authority at the Cannes Film Festival. The GCA and IMAX will work together to help Saudi studios and directors release films with cross-border appeal and eventually tap IMAX’s global distribution platform to export their films to non-Arabic markets.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Saudi Film Council Announces First Project: ‘Wadjda’ Director Haifaa Al-Mansour’s ‘The Perfect Candidate’

Saudi Arabia’s First New Movie Theaters Welcome Women – But Only With Chaperones (For Now)

About That Saudi Tsunami That Just Washed Through Hollywood

IMAX announced the signing of a multi-theatre deal with Vox Cinemas on Tuesday, as the premium screening format plans to expand into Saudi Arabia, now that the country has ended its decades-long cinema ban.

As part of the deal, at least four IMAX screens will be installed at Vox cineplexes in Riyadh and other cineplexes at shopping malls owned by Vox’s parent company, Majid Al Futtaim. Vox is planning to open 600 screens in Saudi Arabia over the next five years, and their first IMAX location has already opened at a four-screen multiplex in Riyadh Park Mall.

Prior to the lifting of the cinema ban back in December, IMAX operated the only public theater screen in Saudi Arabia: a dome theater at the Sultan Bin Abdul Science Center in Khobar that opened in 2005 and was built to screen science documentaries.

At CinemaCon last month, IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond told TheWrap that the company planned to use the public’s familiarity with IMAX from that location to quickly bring in audiences for event releases, as IMAX is already screening “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” on their Vox screen.

“Saudi Arabia presents an exciting and sizeable new growth opportunity for IMAX, and today’s agreement with our long-time partners at VOX Cinemas marks an important first step in our efforts to capitalize on this untapped market,” Gelfond said in a statement following the deal’s announcement. “We’ve been closely following the economic and cultural developments in the market and look forward to playing a key role in the growth of the Kingdom’s emerging entertainment sector.”

The deal comes three days after IMAX signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi government’s General Culture Authority at the Cannes Film Festival. The GCA and IMAX will work together to help Saudi studios and directors release films with cross-border appeal and eventually tap IMAX’s global distribution platform to export their films to non-Arabic markets.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Saudi Film Council Announces First Project: 'Wadjda' Director Haifaa Al-Mansour's 'The Perfect Candidate'

Saudi Arabia's First New Movie Theaters Welcome Women – But Only With Chaperones (For Now)

About That Saudi Tsunami That Just Washed Through Hollywood

IMAX Saudi Deal, Edinburgh Line-Up, Screen Yorkshire, Nordisk Film, Kino Lorber, Assembly Line — Global Briefs

IMAX has inked a deal with VOX Cinemas, the Middle East’s largest exhibitor, for a minimum of four new theatres in Saudi Arabia. Four theatres will be added to new multiplexes in Riyadh. The first IMAX theatre has opened at VOX Cinemas’ Riyadh Park Mal…

IMAX has inked a deal with VOX Cinemas, the Middle East's largest exhibitor, for a minimum of four new theatres in Saudi Arabia. Four theatres will be added to new multiplexes in Riyadh. The first IMAX theatre has opened at VOX Cinemas' Riyadh Park Mall venue. VOX Cinemas was awarded its licence to operate cinemas in the Kingdom and plans to invest SAR2B (US$533.3M) to open 600 screens in Saudi Arabia over the next five years. Today's agreement brings the IMAX contracted…

IMAX and Saudi Arabia Partner to Develop Local Films

IMAX and Saudi Arabia’s General Culture Authority have signed a non-binding agreement to jointly seek opportunities to identify and develop local IMAX-format films in the kingdom. Under the non-exclusive pact, unveiled Saturday, the partners will seek …

IMAX and Saudi Arabia’s General Culture Authority have signed a non-binding agreement to jointly seek opportunities to identify and develop local IMAX-format films in the kingdom. Under the non-exclusive pact, unveiled Saturday, the partners will seek opportunities to help Saudi studios and directors release films with cross-border appeal and potentially tap into the IMAX global […]

IMAX, Saudi Arabia To Develop Local IMAX Format Films – Cannes

IMAX and Saudi Arabia’s General Culture Authority today entered a memorandum of understanding to jointly seek opportunities to identify and develop local IMAX format films. The agreement is part of the GCA’s strategic efforts to develop a dynamic and s…

IMAX and Saudi Arabia's General Culture Authority today entered a memorandum of understanding to jointly seek opportunities to identify and develop local IMAX format films. The agreement is part of the GCA's strategic efforts to develop a dynamic and sustainable film industry in the Kingdom. Under a non-exclusive MOU, the GCA and IMAX will look for ops to help Saudi studios and directors release films with cross-border appeal and eventually tap IMAX's global distribution…

Imax Opens Screens In France; Zurich Launches TV Prize; Sierra/Affinity Preps ‘Red Snake’ – Global Briefs

France is set to get three new Imax theaters after Imax Corp struck a deal with French exhibitor CinéAlpes. The move will see screens erected in the cities of Tours, Quetigny and Aubière in central France. The move will mean that France has 24 Imax the…

France is set to get three new Imax theaters after Imax Corp struck a deal with French exhibitor CinéAlpes. The move will see screens erected in the cities of Tours, Quetigny and Aubière in central France. The move will mean that France has 24 Imax theaters with 17 currently open and seven set to open. "CinéAlpes shares our passion for delivering premium entertainment experiences as evidenced by their commitment to our Imax with Laser experience. We are delighted to…

‘Black Panther,’ Record February Boost IMAX’s First Quarter Earnings

The box office performance of Marvel’s “Black Panther,” which drove IMAX to a record February, helped the theater chain beat its earnings estimates for the first quarter of 2018.

On Tuesday, IMAX reported $85 million in revenue, and adjusted earnings per share of 21 cents, passing analyst estimates of $81.06 million in sales and earnings of 11 cents per share.

The giant-screen chain pulled in $246.9 million at the global box office, including a $53 million take in February. IMAX released 22 films during the quarter, compared to 18 in the same time frame in 2017. In China, IMAX saw a 27 percent increase, largely thanks to the release of three local-language films over the Chinese New Year.

Also Read: ‘Black Panther’ Passes ‘Frozen’ to Join Top 10 Highest Grossing Films of All Time

Even though it wasn’t part of IMAX’s first quarter, the movie theater company touted the performance of Marvel’s latest blockbuster, “Avengers: Infinity War,” which stormed to a record $41.5 million opening at the IMAX box office over the weekend. This doesn’t include China, where the film opens this weekend, but IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond mentioned during the earnings call that pre-sales have hit $4 million, the strongest in the company’s history.

“Our first quarter results were strong from both a financial and strategic standpoint. We modified our programming strategy, demonstrated operating leverage and set the table for the successful launch of IMAX with Laser, which was bolstered by over 150 signings to date,” said Richard L. Gelfond, IMAX CEO, in a statement accompanying the earnings results.

“In addition to benefitting from the revenue and cost initiatives we implemented last year–which helped drive Adjusted EBITDA growth of 70 percent, compared to Q1 last year–our recent performance also reflects IMAX’s growing value proposition to content-creators and moviegoers alike,” Gelfond continued. “As content-creators emphasize blockbuster-type content and as consumers seek differentiated moviegoing experiences, The IMAX Experience is becoming an increasingly important platform to launch and experience global franchise content.”

Also Read: Why IMAX Was Late to Booking the ‘It’ Movie

Gelfond concluded, “We believe our global footprint, coupled with our focus on creating differentiated experiences for the biggest cinematic releases, uniquely positions IMAX to benefit from these trends.”

The company added 16 new theaters during the quarter, bringing its global count to 1,382 theaters. IMAX also launched its first commercial theater in Saudi Arabia, which recently ended its 35-year cinema ban, with VOX Cinemas in Riyadh Park. “Avengers: Infinity Warwas the first movie to play on its big screen.

IMAX stock opened at $23.85 earnings per share Tuesday, up 2.8 percent from Monday’s close.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Sets Opening Sunday Record, Finishes Weekend With $257 Million

IMAX Credits ‘Black Panther’ for Record February, Touts Q4 Earnings Boost From Holiday Season

‘Dunkirk’ to Return to Theaters in IMAX and 70mm for Awards Season

The box office performance of Marvel’s “Black Panther,” which drove IMAX to a record February, helped the theater chain beat its earnings estimates for the first quarter of 2018.

On Tuesday, IMAX reported $85 million in revenue, and adjusted earnings per share of 21 cents, passing analyst estimates of $81.06 million in sales and earnings of 11 cents per share.

The giant-screen chain pulled in $246.9 million at the global box office, including a $53 million take in February. IMAX released 22 films during the quarter, compared to 18 in the same time frame in 2017. In China, IMAX saw a 27 percent increase, largely thanks to the release of three local-language films over the Chinese New Year.

Even though it wasn’t part of IMAX’s first quarter, the movie theater company touted the performance of Marvel’s latest blockbuster, “Avengers: Infinity War,” which stormed to a record $41.5 million opening at the IMAX box office over the weekend. This doesn’t include China, where the film opens this weekend, but IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond mentioned during the earnings call that pre-sales have hit $4 million, the strongest in the company’s history.

“Our first quarter results were strong from both a financial and strategic standpoint. We modified our programming strategy, demonstrated operating leverage and set the table for the successful launch of IMAX with Laser, which was bolstered by over 150 signings to date,” said Richard L. Gelfond, IMAX CEO, in a statement accompanying the earnings results.

“In addition to benefitting from the revenue and cost initiatives we implemented last year–which helped drive Adjusted EBITDA growth of 70 percent, compared to Q1 last year–our recent performance also reflects IMAX’s growing value proposition to content-creators and moviegoers alike,” Gelfond continued. “As content-creators emphasize blockbuster-type content and as consumers seek differentiated moviegoing experiences, The IMAX Experience is becoming an increasingly important platform to launch and experience global franchise content.”

Gelfond concluded, “We believe our global footprint, coupled with our focus on creating differentiated experiences for the biggest cinematic releases, uniquely positions IMAX to benefit from these trends.”

The company added 16 new theaters during the quarter, bringing its global count to 1,382 theaters. IMAX also launched its first commercial theater in Saudi Arabia, which recently ended its 35-year cinema ban, with VOX Cinemas in Riyadh Park. “Avengers: Infinity Warwas the first movie to play on its big screen.

IMAX stock opened at $23.85 earnings per share Tuesday, up 2.8 percent from Monday’s close.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Avengers: Infinity War' Sets Opening Sunday Record, Finishes Weekend With $257 Million

IMAX Credits 'Black Panther' for Record February, Touts Q4 Earnings Boost From Holiday Season

'Dunkirk' to Return to Theaters in IMAX and 70mm for Awards Season

‘Everest’ Director Baltasar Kormakur Opens Iceland Studio, IMAX India Deals, Venice To Fete David Cronenberg — Global Briefs

Everest and Contraband director Baltasar Kormákur, along with his production company RVK Studios, have officially opened a large film studio near Iceland’s capital Reykjavik, the first step towards the launch of Reykjavik Studios, a full-service …

Everest and Contraband director Baltasar Kormákur, along with his production company RVK Studios, have officially opened a large film studio near Iceland’s capital Reykjavik, the first step towards the launch of Reykjavik Studios, a full-service production facility and ‘film village’. The studio is a 3,200 m² space with a highest point of 18m. Spanning 20,000m of land, Icelandic director Kormakur has spent the last two years in between shoots working on the larger Studio…